Recent Blog Articles

Heart Health

What's that chest pain?

July 02, 2020

Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between a heart attack, heartburn, and lung problems.

l0518c16207256988011
 Image: © PeopleImages/Getty Images

Many kinds of health problems can cause chest discomfort, with symptoms so intense that you rush to the hospital. "I see older adults with chest pain or something related to it every time I work in the emergency department," says Dr. Kei Ouchi, an emergency medicine physician at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The big fear

You may worry that chest pain is due to a heart attack, which occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked, typically by a blood clot and narrowed arteries. Classic symptoms include pressure or squeezing in the chest, lightheadedness, and pain in the shoulder, arm, neck, jaw, or back.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.